Thursday, December 20, 2012

No Place Like Home For the Holidays?

Hey all,

I'm back and just in time to talk about one of my favorite holidays--Christmas.  

While I hate the crowds, commercialism, and buying frenzy that seems to happen no matter how hard I try to avoid it, Christmas to me is about surrounding yourself with the holiday...with family and friends who are important.  Being thankful for what I have...for what God has given me.

I always decorate like a crazy woman and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to give gifts to the people I care about. Jonathon learned early on that trying to rein me in at Christmas time is like trying to hold sunshine in your hands.


But being overseas makes everything different.  1)  I don't have my Christmas decorations--so I had to go to IKEA and get a few things.  But I can't justify spending hundreds of euros on something I'm just going to leave behind, so I didn't get much.  So while the house is's not what I usually do.

2) The gift giving is curtailed BIG TIME.  My kids got gifts...already sent home with Jessaca when she was here, and I just sent out another box because I couldn't help myself.  LOL  They'll get a Christmas card as well.  Late, but I forgot to send it with the box.  So gifts will be given to our friends here at the circus and of course to my sweet baboo.  He'll be totally embarrassed as usual with the abundance.

But I can't get all I'd like because a) we can't carry it and b) unless it's awesomely wonderfully cool, it's hard to buy something you KNOW is just going into a box and sit for several years until we're done traveling.

So gift giving has changed too.

3)  The atmosphere is different.  Not being home with all the familiar sights and scents DOES make a big difference.  I can't pull out my crock pot and do my Christmas potpourri or spend hours in the kitchen making up all my favorite cookies, candies and breads.  That's a part of Christmas I can do a little here, but not what I would normally do.

4)  And finally, my family.  I miss them.  This is the third Christmas away from our children and it's the hardest part of all.  We went from EVERYONE being there to no one and that all by itself makes the holidays a lot harder for me.  No going to the Epcot Christmas with Jessaca or watching Muppet's Christmas with Jeramiah.  No making Christmas turkey with Jasiah or having pop gun fights first thing Christmas morning with the whole family.  *sigh*

But it was a choice we made to do our adventure and when we did, Jonathon and I decided we would have to make our new traditions.  It's easy to slip back into old habits and then be disappointed, but each year it gets a bit easier.  So now, instead of shopping at Walmart and Macy's, I go to Christmas Markets.  Instead of making my usual wassel, I've learned to make gluhwein.  And while I can still make traditional Christmas cookies, I've added German spiced gingerbread to my repertoire.

I've learned that being home for the holidays isn't a place...but an attitude.  Learning to embrace and enjoy where you are and what you're doing.  And since wherever Jonathon is...that IS my home, it's a lesson I'll gladly learn.

May your own Christmas be blessed with love, family, friends and laughter.  And may all your Christmas dreams come true!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

Nice CJ. This year Christmas is a little bit more difficult and a little bit different. The kids are in college but home, Michael's father passed away at the beginning of the month and my Mom is in the hospital right now with pneumonia and my Uncle is in a nursing home. I am hoping to get shopping done today but now we are dealing with the aftermath of the first major snowstorm of the season. But I will still go out and look at lights with my kids on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas CJ!

CJ England said...

I know things change as life does, Phylis, but sometimes I just wish time would stand still. I miss the crazy time of Christmas with my kids, cats, dogs and ferrets.

Ray said...

The Christmas of 2002 I was aboard ship at Cape Canaveral. For my stateroom decoration I bought a Rosemary plant that was already decorated. Not only did I have a tree, but a pleasant fragrance and later an herb to use at home when I finally left the ship.

Thinking of a crock pot for the traveler, I just found our 2 quart slow cooker. It doesn't take up much room like a full size one and the lid is flexible plastic so it won't break.

CJ England said...

I carry around a Peace plant since Amsterdam. Easy to maintain and having something living in all the apartments and hotel rooms is important for me.

I like the idea of a traveling crockpot. I'll look into that. Thanks for the idea.